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Old 02-26-2013, 06:49 PM   #1
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2 breakers one circuit...


we have a series of outlets that turn off by a single breaker, all was good. i opened a junction box in the middle of this circuit following the conduit back from a power pole(drop down raceway that has outlets at the bottom and flex coming out the top with 3 conductors).

the junction box has 3 conduit runs to it (figuring one feed and one continuing to the next box and one to the power pole) we added another power pole running the conduit to this box. to make it fit better and not put too many conductors into one wire connector I put all power pole conductors together and pigtailed those to the other conductors (blk to blk pigtailed to blk & blk same for wht & grn.

here's where it gets interesting: the old existing power pole worked just as before and tested correct for ground and neutral. the new pole was getting no power! checked all the connections to be good and checked the pole & outlet wiring all good.

finally back at a nearby panel somebody finds a breaker that has tripped and turns it back on. now the new pole works fine and tests correct. what is going on? even if I mixed up the feed and power pole conductors in the box shouldn't everything be getting power if all conductors are wired together as i describe?

ALSO the 2nd breaker that now needs to be on to get power to the new pole turns off or dims some 'always on' lighting. is there an emergency lighting wiring scheme that uses 2 circuits? (no battery or battery back up for this lighting, not true 'emergency' lighting)


Last edited by oh'mike; 02-27-2013 at 05:23 AM. Reason: spaces
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:57 PM   #2
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2 breakers one circuit...


If you have to turn on a second circuit breaker to get that new power pole working, its obvious you goofed something up.

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Old 02-26-2013, 08:45 PM   #3
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2 breakers one circuit...


well, since all conductors in the box were previously connected I don't see how adding another outlet(s) changed anything, I am thinking that the box could have been live when I worked on it and that 2nd breaker was tripped during the time I was working in there! yikes! I don't remember any arcing or anything tho, maybe that 2nd breaker was off coincidentally. as I said it dims these 'always on' lights when you trip it, so I assume that somehow that circuit and these outlets have crossed circuits but why one pole has power and the other doesn't? as I said all the conductors in the box are now connected; 4 blk, 4 wht & 4 grn only difference being that they are connected in pairs with a pigtail connecting the pairs...
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:23 PM   #4
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2 breakers one circuit...


Quote:
Originally Posted by culprit
well, since all conductors in the box were previously connected I don't see how adding another outlet(s) changed anything, I am thinking that the box could have been live when I worked on it and that 2nd breaker was tripped during the time I was working in there! yikes! I don't remember any arcing or anything tho, maybe that 2nd breaker was off coincidentally. as I said it dims these 'always on' lights when you trip it, so I assume that somehow that circuit and these outlets have crossed circuits but why one pole has power and the other doesn't? as I said all the conductors in the box are now connected; 4 blk, 4 wht & 4 grn only difference being that they are connected in pairs with a pigtail connecting the pairs...
Based on your description and use of the terms "nearby panel" and "always on lighting" this sounds like a commercial or apartment building. I would start with a good circuit map before I started extending circuits. If you are now unintentionally backfeeding another circuit I would undo your previous work and start over with mapping out the circuits. Both circuits could be on different phases. I would turn off the "nearby" breaker and leave it off until you undo your prior work.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:02 AM   #5
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2 breakers one circuit...


yes, commercial space. i have disconnected my additional outlet and we are back to the way it was originally. same situation, 2 breakers on this circuit with lights that are always on and numerous duplex outlets throughout. one breaker kills power to outlets while the junction box is still live and lights still on. it does sound like they were on different phases when we added our second power outlet, passing no power to some wires but i have no idea how that works... as i posted all black together and all white together yet not all getting the same flow of electrons...
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:32 PM   #6
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2 breakers one circuit...


UPDATE: talked to the designer of this system (electrician who spec'ed it) he says that its not supposed to be on 2 circuits, that if we hunt around that we will find the battery backup system and that the lights should only be on if the breaker trips or power goes out! it is called egress lighting and is required; if anyone is in the building after dark and the power goes out they will be able to find their way out safely... so now we need to call the installer and get him back to do it right. I am guessing that the lights stay on 24/7 because they inadvertently put it on 2 circuits, why the 2nd power pole wasn't exhibiting the same behaviors as the 1st? still not sure.

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